What are Risk Free Bets and How do they Work?

White sign with risk free text on it

The phrase “risk-free” can be music to anyone’s ears when it comes to betting. But can a bet ever really be placed with zero risk to you or your money?

In this post, we’ll look at risk-free bets - also known as “no sweat” bets - and how they work. 

We’ll also introduce you to matched betting; a simple betting strategy that can help you turn risk free bets into guaranteed profits.


  1. What are sportsbook promotions and bonus offers?
  2. What is a risk free bet?
  3. Unlocking a risk-free bet in 3 steps
  4. How to convert risk-free bets into guaranteed profit
  5. Get started with matched betting

First though, let’s take a step back and quickly look at where risk-free bets come from…


1. What are Sportsbook Promotions and Bonus Offers?

Online sportsbooks offer incentives to attract new customers and encourage their existing customers to place another bet. These incentives often come in the form of promotional offers such as free bets and bonus offers.

There are lots of types of sportsbook promo offers around and the details will differ based on the sportsbook you use. However, once you know how they all work, you’ll be able to use them to make ongoing profits. But more on that, in a little bit.

Read More:  Matched Betting: What is an Online Sportsbook?

The most common promo offer: Free bets

Free bets are probably the most popular type of promo offer given out by online sportsbooks. Especially to new customers as part of a welcome, or sign up, offer. You might see a sportsbook with a free bet offer similar to this:


Using the above example, here’s how you would go about getting the free bet offer.

  1. Open an account with bet365 and deposit some money into your sportsbook wallet. Make sure you check the terms and conditions of the offer for accepted deposit options.

  2. Place a bet of $5 (using your own money). This will unlock the free bet.

  3. Receive the free bet once the event has finished. It is worth $150.

A free bet lets you place a bet using credit, rather than your own money. This essentially removes the risk of traditional gambling because you’re not risking your own cash.

Now we’ve covered some of the basics of a free bet offer, we’re going to focus on another type of sportsbook promo offer: risk-free bets.


2. What is a Risk-Free Bet?

Risk-free bets are very similar to free bets in that they are given out by online sportsbooks to customers. Here’s an example of a risk-free bet promo offer:

risk free eg

The main difference though is that rather than receiving a free bet worth a specific amount, with a risk-free bet, you stake your own money. Your risk-free bet is equal to how much you bet, rather than a free bet where it can be fixed (to $150 like in the free bet example above).

If the bet wins, you keep the returns (as usual), but if it loses, the sportsbook will reimburse you the amount (usually in free bets).

Don’t worry if that sounds a bit confusing because we’ll look at the full process for ‘unlocking’ a risk-free bet in section 3.

Common terms and conditions of risk-free bet promo offers

As with most, if not all, sportsbook promo offers, there are a number of terms and conditions to be aware of when doing risk-free bets. The specific terms of a particular offer will depend on the site or promo type itself, so always make sure to read up first.

Terms and conditions are really important because if you don’t follow them, you might not receive the risk-free bet! You don’t want to miss out.

Here are some examples of common T&C’s:

  • Expiration date: Unfortunately, free bets don’t last forever. They will usually expire after a certain number of days, so make sure you use them before they disappear!

  • Minimum odds: Some sportsbooks set minimum odds that your bet needs to be placed above. This could be the case for both your initial wager and any subsequent free bets.

  • Specified events: Sometimes risk-free bets can only be unlocked if you bet on certain sports, events or markets.

  • Cash or credit: Will your free bet be given in the form of cash you can withdraw immediately or (more likely) a bet token/credit to use on the sportsbook website.

  • Payment type: Sometimes the option you choose for depositing money into your sportsbook wallet will disqualify you from being eligible for the promo.

  • Location: Some risk-free bets can only be accessed in certain states.

3. Unlocking a Risk-Free Bet in 3 Steps

Unlocking a risk-free bet promo is simple, and usually only involves 3 easy steps:

  1. Open an account with an online sportsbook which is offering a risk free bet to new customers.

  2. Place a bet on an event using your own money. There are two possible outcomes:
    a) If the bet wins, you receive winnings BUT you won’t receive the ‘risk-free bet’. The exact amount of money you win will depend on the odds you bet at.
    b) If the bet loses, you receive a refund of the amount of your original stake. This is usually up to a maximum amount, so check the terms and conditions of the offer.

  3. The refund will usually be given in the form of a bet token, or credit, rather than cash. This means that you’ll have to place another bet (and hope it wins) before you’ll be able to withdraw any cash*.

*Read Section 4 to find out how to protect your own funds and make money at the same time.


4. How to Convert Risk-Free Bets into Guaranteed Profit

The time has come to introduce you to a way to not only protect your original stake with risk-free bets but actually guarantee yourself a profit, every time!

That’s right, we’re talking about matched betting.

Read More: What is Matched Betting? A Beginner's Guide

You can hit the button above to find out exactly how matched betting works but we’ll just run through a brief example of how you can use matched betting to guarantee profit with risk-free bets. Before we do that though, it’s important that you don’t just dive straight in.

Use a dedicated matched betting platform to guide you through the process. A good matched betting platform will provide everything you need to make sure a guaranteed profit is not only possible but simple too! From software which finds the best pre-matched odds to detailed instructions which outline each offer. You don’t need to figure this out on your own.

The matched betting process in 5 easy steps

  1. Open a new account with an online sportsbook offering a risk free bet to new customers. (One account per person).

  2. Just like before, you’ll need to place a bet on an event using your own money. However, you’ll also place a second - matching - bet at another online sportsbook.

  3. If your initial bet is on a team to win, the matched bet needs to be placed on the same team not to win. This way, you’ve covered all potential outcomes of the game and if the team you chose win, you’ll win money on your first bet. If the team doesn’t win, you’ll win money on your second bet. Plus, you’ll also unlock the risk-free bet from the promo offer.

  4. Risk-free bet. You will receive a refund of your original stake (up to a maximum amount). Given as credit rather than cash. Place another bet, then withdraw any cash. You can also use the matched betting strategy here to guarantee yourself a profit from this risk-free bet.

  5. Repeat Step 2 but use the credit from the first sportsbook rather than your own money. Remember to place an opposing bet at a second sportsbook. If your first bet wins, Sportsbook A will pay you winnings. If your first bet loses, Sportsbook B will pay you winnings…Either way, you win. Oh, and you haven’t risked a dollar of your own money!

5. Get Started with Matched Betting

Matched betting is a fantastic side hustle which can earn you guaranteed, monthly profits. It fits around your schedule and the money can be put towards anything from a meal out to vacations or even a new car. So how can you get started?

Well, you’ve already come to the right place! ProfitDuel is a dedicated matched betting platform with all the tools, training guides and support you need to help you turn sportsbook promo offers into guaranteed profits.

Give matched betting a try today with a 14-day FREE TRIAL of ProfitDuel. Click below to get started and earn your first $100 converting our welcome offer, on us. Want to know exactly how you’ll earn your first $100? Download our free 5-step walkthrough guide here. It couldn’t be easier.

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*DISCLAIMER: We're legally required to state that there is no guarantee of specific results each month. The amount of money that you earn can vary dependant on the time and effort that you commit each month.